Pay please! 2 Safe Driving Books: The First Auto Insurance

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Exactly 10 years after the automobile was patented, the first automobile insurance was offered in Britain. It seemed like a kind of negation: the still young insurance company General Accident did not want to offer insurance for the horse-drawn carriages which were involved in numerous accidents and the costly handling of claims.

Since November 2, 1896, 125 years ago today, it cost for the first time 2 pounds sterling per month (today the equivalent of 272.93 pounds or 321.17 euros) to insure the powertrain against broken tires and accidental damage. At the time, no one thought of liability or theft insurance. Insurance was still a gamble on the future, as there were only 20 electric cars in Britain at the time. Damage caused by accidents with horse-drawn taxis was not covered by insurance.

Insurance is inspired by the first fatal car accident: On August 17, 1896, worker Bridget Driscoll was struck by a Roger Benz mobile at a speed of 6.5 km / h during a sales fair and died at the scene of the accident victim. The hearing which followed relieved the driver James Edsall, who had only trained with the Franco-German coach three weeks before: the death was only an accidental accident. No insurance company was responsible for such things at the time.

Bridget Driscoll (* 1851 not known, August 17, 1896 in London) is considered the first person to be killed in a car accident.

A US court due to try the first fatal accident involving an electric vehicle made a similar decision: on September 13, 1899, Henry Hale Bliss was hit by an e-taxi. Here too, no insurance company had to intervene.


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The same agreement was reached in the first car accident on February 25, 1899 with the death of the driver. A tire broke during an excursion and factory pilots Edwin Sewell and Major James Richer are deceased. Retelling suggests drunk driving.

The year 1899 is also important for Germany, because in that year the “Allgemeine Deutsche Versicherungs-Verein” in Stuttgart also offered its first liability and accident insurance, which was supplemented by “collision insurance” distinct after brief and bad experiences. The club was then bought out by a company that already had machine and bike insurance in its program. In 1918 it became “Kraft Versicherungs AG”, known today as Allianz.

Allianz acted cautiously in the market and only entered the auto insurance business when motor vehicles became more reliable and therefore more predictable. Others were more innovative: Agrippina Insurance developed the first liability insurance in the current sense of the term in 1901.

Such accidents were and are typical insurance cases, as here in 1930 when a tire burst in Mecklenburg and the vehicle skidded and hit a tree in the avenue. The contemporary source reports that of the five detainees, three were slightly injured and two seriously injured.

(Image: CC BY-SA 3.0, Federal Archives, photo 102-10248)

The insurance industry could not keep up with the rapid increase in the number of motor vehicles after World War I. General motor vehicle liability was not introduced and only applied to driving school instructors and long-distance drivers who founded regional cooperative societies (SVGs) specifically for this purpose.

It was not until 1939, with Austria’s “Anschluss” to the German Reich, that third party liability was introduced for all motor vehicles in Germany. It has been mandatory for all vehicles in Austria since 1929. Even before, there was only the US state of Massachusetts, which made it mandatory in 1927 – and at the same time decreed that motor vehicles must have rear lights.

Today, the world’s first general accident insurance is online-only insurance. Insurance groups have long been tinkering with autonomous driving policies. “Whether the driver or the technology reacts incorrectly and an accident does occur, the existing liability system protects the innocent traffic victim,” said Joachim Müller, CEO of Allianz, explaining the problem. The topic has been a long-standing topic in the Heise forums since Tesla’s first dropouts, no different from the early days of traffic.

An insurance specialist described how an accident happened in 1911. Franz Kafka observed what was happening in Paris and called it a meeting of social classes.


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Disclaimer: This article is generated from the feed and is not edited by our team.


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